'When the time comes, I will go after them': François Fillon threatens those who smeared his campaign

François Fillon vowed to “go after” the people who smeared his campaign in an interview with French radio station France inter on Thursday morning.

Fillon was once the frontrunner in the presidential election race, but his campaign was disrupted following accusations — which he vehemently denies — that he paid his wife, son, and daughter huge sums of tax-payers money for minimal work.

In the interview, Fillon continued to claim he was innocent (both he and his wife are being investigated over the allegations) and that the scandal had been completely orchestrated by a “black cabinet” at the Elysée.

“It’s been two and a half months since the entire political and media system hit me. But the truth will break out,” Fillon said.

“I have the dates, the days, the people who disclosed the documents. When the time comes, I will go after them,” he continued, “It has been difficult, it is true that I’ve slept badly in recent weeks. But those who are behind this case will not sleep well in the future “

Asked whether he still thought that Socialist French President François Hollande was at the origin of the scandal, Fillon answered “of course.” According to him the documents, which allowed the newspaper Canard enchaîné to reveal the information about the payments made to his wife and children, came directly from the government, “they did not go looking for them, someone brought them [the documents].”

“We are faced with practices that are not democratic,” said Fillon.

Hollande — who is not running for a second term — has rejected Fillon’s accusations and denied any involvement in the matter.

Fillon also said again that the polls are wrong, just like they were wrong during his party’s primaries when the polls predicted his rival Alain Juppé would be leading the conservatives. “I will be in the second round,” he promises, “and I am convinced that polls are biased by the general political climate”

In the latest polls on voter intentions done after Tuesday’s televised debate, the embattled conservative candidate came in third in the first round of voting with 18% of the votes, behind centrist Emmanuel Macron (25%) and far-right leader Marine Le Pen (24%).

Macron was seen winning the presidency 62 per cent to Le Pen’s 38 per cent, a margin that was down from 65 per cent to 35 per cent two weeks ago.

Le Pen has, like Fillon, been accused of misusing European funds to pay her personal aides a European Parliament assistant’s salary and used her immunity as EU lawmaker to refuse to go to a police summons.

Although the polls for the second round of the elections show Macron as a clear winner (62% to Le Pen’s 38%), his lead of the Front National candidate has been narrowing. This narrowing, coupled with voter uncertainty predict that the results of the elections are still far from certain.

The first round of the elections will take place on April 23 and the second round, which will determine who the new French president is, on May 7.

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